Often times people are surprised by the fact that not only can your teeth develop cavities and decay that occurs from the outside of the tooth going in; your teeth are also capable of decaying or 'dying' from the inside out.
Let's examine some of the symptoms of tooth decay and talk about what you can do to prevent it, or treat it if it's already happening.
How Can a Tooth Die?
Unlike your hair or your fingernails, which are made up of dead cells, your teeth are very much alive. They are filled with blood vessels, capillaries and nerves inside of the tooth's pulp cavity.
Occasionally the inside of the tooth can die. Usually this is a result of trauma, an injury to the mouth, but not always. When this happens, the pulp dies, and your tooth will start looking dark brown or black even though you may not be able to see any visible cavities.
If your tooth has died, there is little we can do other than removing the dead pulp from the center of the tooth and filling the tooth cavity. (A root canal procedure) If the tooth has been deeply stained, it is possible to bleach the tooth from the inside out after clearing the cavity. This will remove the stains.
How To Prevent Decay
Good oral hygiene is essential in preventing tooth decay, whether it's from the outside in or the inside out. This includes regular checkups and cleanings with our office! Additionally, protecting your mouth and teeth from injury is important if you're active in sports.
A seemingly minor injury to a tooth can begin the slow process of the tooth decaying from the inside out. If you do sustain an injury to your mouth or teeth, please call us as soon as possible so we can help assess the situation to avoid future complications. Be safe out there!
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